Take action and join me in the fight against respiratory infections! Relative humidity of 40-60% in buildings will reduce respiratory infections and save lives.
There is now overwhelming scientific evidence that a mid-range air humidity has significant benefits for human health. It is very possible for us to be managing the indoor air quality of our public buildings in line with this evidence. The time has come for regulations on indoor air quality to include a humidity level of 40-60%RH. This is the optimal level for our respiratory immune system, and will reduce the spread of seasonal respiratory illnesses and their burden on society.
I am calling on the World Health Organization to review the scientific evidence on humidity and health, and recommend a minimum lower limit of indoor humidity in public buildings to reduce respiratory infections.
Dr. Stephanie Taylor
Infection Control Consultant at Harvard Medical School ASHRAE Distinguished Lecturer & Member of the ASHRAE Epidemic Task Group
Science has shown us three reasons why we should always maintain 40-60%RH in public buildings like hospitals, schools and offices, throughout the year.
Relative humidity of 40-60% in buildings will reduce respiratory infections and save lives.
The World Health Organization sets guidance for indoor air quality on issues such as pollution and mold. It currently offers no recommendations for a minimum humidity level in public buildings.
If it were to publish guidance on minimum levels of humidity, building standards regulators around the world would need to update their own requirements. Building owners and operators would then take steps to improve their indoor air quality to meet this minimum humidity level.
This would lead to:
Respiratory infections from seasonal respiratory viruses, such as flu, being significantly reduced.
Thousands of lives saved every year from the reduction in seasonal respiratory illnesses.
Global healthcare services being less burdened every winter.
The world’s economies massively benefiting from less absenteeism.
A healthier indoor environment and improved health for millions of people.
Please, WHO – listen to the science on indoor humidity and act now!
“Ninety percent of our lives in the developed world are spent indoors in close proximity to each other. When cold outdoor air with little moisture is heated indoors, the air’s relative humidity drops to about 20%. This dry air provides a clear pathway for airborne viruses, such as COVID-19.
In addition to this, our immune system’s ability to respond to pathogens is suppressed by dry air.
Studies have shown that there is a sweet spot in relative humidity. Air of between 40% and 60% shows substantially less ability to transmit viruses and allows our nose and throat to maintain robust immune responses against them.
That’s why I recommend humidifiers during the winter, and why I feel the world would be a healthier place if all our public buildings kept their indoor air at 40 to 60%RH.”
Prof. Dr. Akiko Iwasaki, The Waldemar Von Zedtwitz Professor of Immunobiology and professor of molecular, cellular and developmental biology at Yale, and an investigator for the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.
“Maintaining an indoor humidity of at least 40%RH is a proactive way to combat the spread of viruses from infected to susceptible hosts, even before any symptoms appear or a diagnosis can be made. Additionally, the respiratory tract’s defenses of both hosts are improved, due to the more efficient cleaning of the airways and enhanced immune defenses.
Raising air humidity by humidification reduces the risk of microbial spread in hospitals and other buildings at low-cost and without causing negative effects. It can also be easily implemented in public buildings and in both private and workplace environments. Humidification gives people a simple means of actively combatting seasonal respiratory infections, including the fearsome SARS-CoV-2 virus, for which there are currently no vaccines or effective drug treatments.
This is why I am calling on the WHO to review the available science on this important topic and develop guidelines on indoor air quality that will set a minimum level of humidity in public buildings for health.”
Walter Hugentobler, Dr. med., MD, General Physician, former lecturer Inst. of Primary Care at University of Zürich
“The containment of the COVID-19 pandemic requires a worldwide lockdown. While this is extremely effective in reducing outdoor contagion, it does not prevent indoor transmission of SARS-CoV-2. All available evidence points to proper control of indoor humidity levels as a factor that drastically reduces the half-life of aerogenic viruses and may even enhance the mucosal innate-immunity defenses against them.
I call on the World Health Organization to review the many studies relating to low indoor humidity and health, and take action to mitigate seasonal illness and improve the health of building occupants across the world.”
Prof. Dr. Adriano Aguzzi, Professor and director of the Institute of Neuropathology at the University of Zurich, and Editor-in-chief Swiss Medical Journal
Watch the WHO press conference below:
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Dr. Taylor – I’ve been watching your work since October 2019 and talking about your findings in our hardware store and on our radio show often. Thank you for your work on this subject. I believe humidity can be a game changer for living with COVID. As a small business, we feel like there is little practical knowledge for small businesses to create healthier environments as we live WITH COVID. We are working with our local Chamber of Commerce’s from area communities to get this and other practical solutions to businesses and hosting Surviving and Thriving – Tools for Small Businesses in October. Thank you for your work and your dedication!
I just now discovered your website. Dr. Kathy Rowlen and I had come to the exactly the same conclusion about maintaining RH in the range 40-60% to reduce the transmission of respiratory viruses. We actually submitted a paper on this to the Policy Forum of Science yesterday. The pre-print can be found here:
I’m much more interested in topics like this… having had sarcoidosis, and losing 12% of my lung capacity.
It may have seemed that all the cases in Florida, Texas and Brazil refuted seasonality. Many have argued this.
Not at all! Disease severity and mortality is perhaps an order of magnitude or more lower when high humidity is present. Humidity is more a difference-maker by far than any other treatment in existence.
Humidification will be desperately important this coming winter season.
Dr. Taylor, you have been incredible. Push forward: you have the most important public health message in the world right now! Please encourage Dr. Iwasaki and Hugentobler to fight hard to get this message of humidification out as well, before winter arrives!
More from the INCREDIBLE new study:
” Despite the fact that most human coronaviruses are highly seasonal15, the seasonal nature of COVID-19 is frequently challenged with the fact that numerous cases have been reported in tropical countries and that virus evidently can also be efficiently transmitted in hot and humid climates. However, in all these countries the disease mortality and severity are very low (e.g. Singapore reported 26 deaths and over 44,000 confirmed infections), which actually suggests that there may be seasonal or climate related differences in severity of COVID-19. ”
Our data suggest that environmental factors play an important role in already infected
patients. Since many hospitals have very dry air, providing humidified air to patients in early stages of the disease may be beneficial. Considering the evident detrimental effect of dry air on our mucosal barrier and its role as the first line of defence against infection39, in situation of rapidly progressing COVID-19 pandemics it would be essential to actively promote universal humidification of dry air in all public and private heated spaces as well as active nasal hygiene and hydration40. Humidity should also be monitored in cooled buildings with limited access to outside air, since air-conditioning is also an effective dehumidification and can result in very dry air. “
The study we have all been waiting for is here:
Effects of environmental factors on severity and mortality of COVID-19
Massive study shows that COVID-19 severity and mortality have been far, far higher where humidity is low.
We have seen already that the mortality for COVID-19 was far, far higher winter in New York, New Jersey and Michigan, than in summer throughout the US. But that is likely to sharply reverse.
Now we have the massive confirmation of a huge study.
Onward, Dr. Taylor to save the world! This is the most important work of your life!!
My studies have shown me that some sub-micron particles can act as effective condensation nuclei. It may be that at a higher humidity the virus creates a small water droplet – the water layer surrounding it acts as an insulation against effective attack. You should work with with aerosol scientists to follow up on this.
Dual-Path Technology-based systems meet the COVID-19 protection criteria for building cooling totally :
Fresh air 30-100%
It saves 30-50% energy too!!!
A very important issue, which reduces the potential of getting infected with COVID-19 and other pathogens! Maintaining an indoor relative humidity (of 40% to 60%) is a simple, yet an effective prophylaxis!
an ounce of prevention is worth more than a pound of cure – true then, even truer now. Humidify to between 40% and 60%, simple.
Absolutely facts .
Humidity rates in air is much high in my city Karachi Pakistan that’s why most of my patients with COVID 19 positive have very few symptoms in starting one or two days or Asymptomatic .
Este conocimiento e implementación es de vital importancia sobre todo en los países latinos en donde tanto el conocimiento e interés por resolver este tipo de causales de contagio son poco valorados. Muchas gracias por compartir su estudio.
There is no doubt about where the air is conditioned and the humidity is at a comfortable level the better you feel and breathing is a lot betterf
Poor RH control has also been linked to “Sick Building Syndrome” for a number of years, I believe. In the current pandemic anything which proactively mitigates the risk, such as this proposal should be endorsed.
I think this should be as follows;
1) increase our immune system.
2) use natural ventilation as much as possible.
3) when it comes to be in mechanical system, we should first measure RH and then maitain it.
Thank you! Will share!
About time this should be common knowledge and a standard of design.
Takning Care of Human beeing indoor Living with humidity 4060rh
SpaCulture supports you. We will be sharing your petition with all our contacts & social media platforms.
i think it will be better then
Palser Enterprises supports you Dr. Taylor. We will be sharing your petition with all our contacts & social media platforms.
Engineered Systems magazine supports the cause!
Thank you 😉
Lo meta no centra únicamente en contener la pandemia, sino evitar el rebote de COVID-19 en el futuro y prevenir, nuevos padecimientos.
The goal is not only to contain the pandemic, but also to prevent future outbreak of COVID-19 and prevent further diseases.
Thank you for your efforts, Dr. Taylor! Sharing with our network of engineers and owners who will be excited to support this effort.
I support this petition and Dr. Taylor’s efforts. Aside from the viral effects, the effect of indoor RH on skin conditions is another reason to require a minimal RH level within health guidelines and construction codes.
Things look to be improving dramatically for now, and seasonality is a big part of why. Indoor humidification must become a part of WHO guidelines before the coming fall and winter season when dry indoor air will be deadly dangerous once again as COVID-19 will be much more widespread then.
Try to make awareness. Many informed are ill informed.
Doctors, scientists and engineers agree that sufficient indoor air hydration levels can have a powerful effect on the transmission of airborne diseases. Most buildings, however, fall short of the recommended threshold of 40 to 60 per cent relative humidity.